Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Must Read: Minority Report, HRW fights a civil war over Israel

Recent disputes over Israel inside HRW have frequently involved Sarah Leah Whitson, the 43-year-old director of MENA (and one of the officials who made the controversial fundraising appearance in Saudi Arabia). Raised by a mother who had been born in the Armenian quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, Whitson spent summers as a child with family in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, later studying abroad in Egypt. Following law school, she became a corporate attorney but pursued activism on the side, volunteering for, among other groups, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (where she was co-organizer of a delegation in 2002 that lobbied Kofi Annan to press ahead with a U.N. investigation of Israel’s Jenin operation) and MADRE (a women’s rights group, with which she traveled to Lebanon on a solidarity mission in 1996 after an Israeli bombing campaign). As I stepped into her office for an interview in February, I noticed that a poster for Paradise Now, a movie that attempts to humanize Palestinian suicide bombers, hangs on her door and that two photos of bereaved Gazans hang on her wall.
Go and read the WHOLE THING. It is a must read. Must!